“We Remember When”

This story is copied from a reprint. It was originally printed in the Wellsville Reporter April 17, 1923 and was reprinted April 17, 1973 as a “We Remember When” story by Ruth Marsh.

“Another brick building three stories high goes crashing into the street.  The Ellsworth Building next to the Engelder Building crashed about noon when most of the workmen had left.  With only a few minutes warning, caused by the cracking of timbers, the three story building collapsed.  Most of the workmen had left, and the few who remained miraculously escaped.  Only a few weeks ago the Engelder and O’Connor Buildings occupied by the Wellsville Wholesale Grocery and Bishop and White Shoe Store crashed to the ground about 9 o’clock in the morning.

The building was weakened from the party wall, on the north occupied in former years by the Baldwin Bros. Bank and later by the Dr. Ellsworth Building.  This structure was weakened by the collapse of the Engelder and a decided bulge occurred in the sidewall alongside the alley leading into the Moogan Stables.  Following the disaster in January, Dr. Ellsworth sold the building to Martin Moogan Jr., who a few weeks ago started alterations that included plans for a modern storefront.  A force of 12 to 15 men were employed.

Shortly before noon today, one half of the front collapsed carrying with it, one of the workmen Albert Stadlich who was working on a scaffold 10 feet from the sidewalk.  He was partly buried in the wreckage but was quickly removed and taken to the hospital where he was cared for by Dr. Comstock.  It is believed when the building collapsed Stadlich jumped from the scaffold resulting in most of his injuries.  He is 21 and a nephew of Henry Stadlich of North Hill.

Martin Moogan was at work on the street floor and witnessed the whole thing from the street where he went flying when the ominous cracking began.  How he escaped injury is almost miraculous.  Two other men were also in the building at the time, John Brundage was at work in the cellar and he was safe enough since the building did not go below the street floor so he crawled out a cellar window.  On the upper or third floor, Homer Brundage was papering a room.  He fled to the rear of the building and escaped unharmed.  Where he was working, a few minutes later was piled up in a heap in the street.  Had the building gone sideways, it probably would have crashed into the wall of the adjoining brick building occupied by the Coleman Shoe Store.

The fire alarm was sounded from Box 32 at the Fasset House Corner.  The companies were on duty to see if their services were needed but the gas had been turned off in the building during the repairs and no fire resulted.  The water line leading into the building was broken off in the wreckage and workers this afternoon were opening a hole in the pavement.  The condemned district has again been roped off to protect pedestrians from the weakened condition of the building as it is expected more of the walls may be coming down any moment.

The last collapse will probably mean a more substantial building being erected.  The loss is a serious one to Mr. Moogan who took quite a gamble on purchasing the building of Dr. Ellsworth to make alterations.  It is understood he paid $5,000 and with the cost of improving, and the cost of tearing down the remainder and clearing the wreckage, the loss will run into thousands of dollars.  Mr. Moogan was not disheartened however, and said the building would be rebuilt better than ever.  The accident collected great throngs of people and an extra police force was necessary to guard traffic.   Had the collapse come ten minutes earlier, probably 12 or 15 men would have been buried in the wreckage.”